In the wake of last week’s Mobile World Congress, Faultline Online Reporter caught up with a company which was demonstrating an intriguing way of breathing new life into advertising campaigns for publishers – claiming to save countless hours and ad dollars.
AnyClip, a ten year old Israeli outfit, described to us a way of weaving content into online video advertisements, by personalizing the same ad in multiple different ways, therefore removing the need for publishers to create multiple campaigns. It is a programmatic service which optimizes the buying and selling of ads, working with the big platforms on both the supply and demand side.
Ari Applbaum, VP of Marketing at AnyClip, showed us a demo in which the same Rolex advertisement was personalized for 4 different individuals, whereby each had a personal interest identified – soccer, fashion, swimming and action movies, respectively. Companies like Rolex, which AnyClip said is not actually a customer, will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ad campaigns, so weaving in personalized content to the same ad offers obvious benefits.
The process uses the AnyClip AI engine technology, which isolates a frame of an advertisement and then discards other similar frames, so as to save “thousands of hours” of work, as it removes the need to tag multiple frames, but does so in a way that it claims maintains the important metrics without losing data.
This metadata then goes to the next layer, the WeaVo tagging engine, which uses its own proprietary AI technology with deep learning algorithms, in combination with external systems from Google, IBM and Clarify. The data is extracted and WeaVo decides which data to keep and which to discard – pulling various criteria from sources such as IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes into the process, resulting in some rather well refined tags.
WeaVo cuts frames while keeping the tags intact, then pushes the personalized clips into the ads. The clever part here is that the technology automatically determines where the perfect transition is between the personalized content and the publisher’s ad, including the all-important soundtrack – by looking at and analyzing lighting and color.
The third and final layer of this technology is AnyClip’s Sense and Match recommendation engine, which uses a combination of internal and external data management platforms to match the video tags, now woven into the ad, with tags from each user for each website, of which AnyClip claims to serve some 2 million sites.
Applbaum said he regularly uses the Rolex example at presentations, where he will play the original Rolex ad 3 or 4 times, to demonstrate how the audience rapidly disengages. He then follows this with the 4 personalized ads, each time maintaining engagement, while the core advertisement remains identical each time.
A major automotive insurance firm recently launched a campaign focused on targeting students, and with the assistance of AnyClip, it turned a single ad into 9 or 10 personalized ads which resulted in a 70% increase in ad completion rate. Applbaum said the company can also update each ad by replacing the personalized content with the most recent clip from AnyClip’s content catalog, for example, refreshing the sports-focused ads with a brand new clip from the previous day’s soccer match – switching out a clip from an older match which may have been viewed multiple times already.
Applbaum highlighted that this achievement of 70% increase is merely the beginning, and claims that the full power of AnyClip’s technology can achieve much higher completion improvements – but we will have to wait for an upcoming customer success story to be released later this year to find out for sure.
An issue facing AnyClip is that companies in the creative industries may see this type of technology as a direct threat, as it is essentially acting as an automated and intelligent editing suite. But Applbaum stressed that AnyClip doesn’t want to step on the toes of these companies, and instead wants to work alongside them, as well as having future plans to forge relationships with broadcasters.
The company hasn’t yet signed up any pay TV operators or pure play OTT services, but Applbaum noted that AnyClip is currently exploring options for how to make its services more appealing to players in these markets. It also supports both IAB specifications, VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition) and VAST (Video Ad Serving Template).
Applbaum pointed out rival firms such as Iiview Digital and Spongecell, but poured a bit of cold water on their respective technologies, claiming they were “more basic software” and “lacked premium content” compared to AnyClip.
AnyClip has access to a content library of 1 million clips from the likes of Warner, Disney, Lionsgate, and Chelsea Football Club.
Faultline Online Reporter has covered AnyClip just once in the past, back in October 2014 when the company selected the Limelight Orchestrate CDN. It still uses this today and Limelight Networks is one of many investors in AnyClip, which also includes JVP, Millhouse Capital, and Capital Group. Millhouse is the private investment firm created by the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, hence why AnyClip has exclusive access to Chelsea FC video clips.